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Entries in Best Actor (103)

Tuesday
Oct212014

Lunchtime Poll: Multiple Acting Oscars

I was all prepared to list the most Oscar winning Actors for a quickie top ten list. Until I remembered there were only six with 3 or more Oscars (for acting)

Four Leading Oscars
01 Katharine Hepburn
Three Leading Oscars
02 Daniel Day-Lewis
Three Oscars (Lead/Supporting Mix)
[Three-Way Tie]
03 Ingrid Bergman
03 Meryl Streep
03 Jack Nicholson
Three Oscars (Supporting)
06 Walter Brennan

YOUR TASK: Make it a top ten by filling slots seven through ten. Name the four actors who most deserve to join them as three-timers or the ones who seem most likely?

Saturday
Oct182014

Links: Monty, Misty, Michael, More...

Gurus of Gold The new charts. Yes, I need to update the Oscar charts. I'll get started tomorrow!
The Black Maria for his 94th birthday - "Montgomery Clift: The Lost Poet of Omaha"
Serpentine Magazine Pretty Boys & Pathos: The Men of Classic Hollywood
To Be Continued Keith Uhlich on the single takes in American Horror Story, Birdman and Gone Girl
Guardian Scarlett Johansson to star in a live action remake of animated classic Ghost in the Shell 
In Contention let's give Michael Keaton the Oscar

LAFCA will honor Gena Rowlands with their career achievement award this January
CHUD has very mixed feelings on The Book of Life but h-a-t-e-s the soundtrack
The Wrap Actress Misty Upham (Frozen River, August: Osage County) found dead. Initial reports suggest suicide but...
Juliette Lewis (and others who knew her) don't fully believe it and are demanding an investigation
Words & Film thinks St. Vincent is being misrepresented with that dismissive "weepie" brush. But what's wrong with a weepie? 
Deadline Black and White with Kevin Costner & Octavia Spencer to get an Oscar qualifying run
Zap 2 It has a cool feature on three of the freak in American Horror Story: Freakshow 
NPR on Dear White People 

Just 4 Fun
Pointer Pointer another perfect internet time waster
Vulture Anne Rice, Amazon Reviewer 

 

Thursday
Sep252014

Birdman Starts Campaigning Early

Anne Marie reporting from Los Angeles...

Will Keaton need the tux regularly this season? We think soThe starter's gun for awards season campaigning has unofficially gone off, signalling the beginning of the most exciting/frustrating few months in an Oscar-lover's heart. Sandwiched between the mad dash of TIFF and NYFF on the East Coast was a screening and reception on Tuesday for Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu's Birdman. As a courtyard full of film critics tried to absorb everything the ambitious black comedy presented them, producer John Lesher and star Michael Keaton were there to answer questions and talk over Iñarritu's dizzying vision.

In the coming weeks, we'll undoubtedly hear many comparisons between Michael Keaton and Riggan, the washed up superhero has-been Keaton portrays. Michael Keaton is not nearly as attention-grabbing (or off ghis rocker) as his onscreen doppelganger. Instead, he walked through the crowd quietly, speaking to members of the press one on one or in small groups (graciously fielding questions on baseball and Batman), rather than holding court.

Unfortunately, this meant we didn't all get to speak to him, but he did deliver one appropriately weird closing moment. On his way to the parking lot, Keaton gave a loud Birdman squawk. Then he vanished into the night.

The Birdman cast having fun in Venice earlier this month

Tuesday
Sep232014

Retro Quickie: Cinderella Liberty (1973)

File Under: I have had this Netflix disc out for so long and it really has to be returned to unclog my queue. -Nathaniel

You got a terrific knack for being nice and a prick all at the same time.

Have any of you ever seen Cinderella Liberty? Back when we were doing our 1973 celebration, I rented it since it was the sole Best Actress nomination I hadn't seen from that year. Marsha Mason plays a prostitute with a heart of... well, not gold exactly. But she's got one. She's raising Doug, her biracial teenager (Kirk Calloway nominated for Best Newcomer at the Golden Globes) on her own but she's doing a pretty shit job of it. Enter: James Caan, fresh off the double whammy star-making years of Brian's Song (1971) and The Godfather (1972), as a sailor named John Baggs Jr. who hooks up with her. In actuality it's Baggs' story and Maggie is missing for good stretches of the movie. Seemingly on a whim, this goodhearted sailor decides to stick around and decides to fall in love with her. That's the one thing that's most clear and most enigmatic about the movie. 

I found it a fascinating watch primarily because, though Mason is just fine as a moody blowsy hooker who can't manage her life towards something better, it was Caan's masculine reserve and softly shaded performance that drew me in...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Sep172014

157 days 'til Oscar

We're still five months and a few days away from Oscar night so is it possible that things are starting to lock up? Ehhhh yes but mostly no. Every year all over the web casual movie fans and awards nuts like to start shouting LOCK as early as May for various things (usually centered around something becoming a massive hit or winning something at Cannes). But that's not really how it works. So here we are in September. A lot can happen in the last three and a half months of the calendar year leading up to the nominations. We've still got a long way to go and, conceivably, brilliant or lazy campaigns and smart or clumsy moves and release date shifts can still change everything... even if things are looking terribly good or just dismal for whomever or whatever. While I don't technically like to call anything or anyone a lock before it's actually opened (and thus eligible) the closest thing we have within the four acting categories are two, both in lead races: Reese Witherspoon (Wild) and Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything). They have all the ingredients you could want in a lead push -- the right release dates, the right kinds of roles with the right kinds of hooks, the right level of quality in the actual acting, the right early critical response, the right time in their careers, and a release strategy already carefully mapped out by the right studio. 

There are other "likely!" contenders at the moment of course (Still Julianne, holla / Imitation of Benedict: The People's Choice) but I'd argue that Reese & Eddie are the closest to securing nominations.

And I'd argue that the Supporting Actress category is the most volatile where no one is particularly close It's easy to imagine my current predicted lineup being exactly right but it's almost as easy to imagine not one of the five of them making it if the films that still haven't screened or those that could yet gather more power or lose it, happen to shake up this category. Nobody is remotely safe yet. People like to claim that Patricia Arquette is a done deal for Boyhood and though I hope so I don't think so. We're still four months from nominations and pictures praised for being directorial visions are often where you end up with weird blindspots when it comes to the acting branch. 

MAJOR UPDATES, MOVEMENT, NEW PLAYERS ON ALL FOUR ACTING CHARTS

ALSO UPDATED

Who or what do you think locks up next?

Wednesday
Sep102014

TIFF: Benedict vs. Redmayne, Round 1

Nathaniel's adventure in Toronto. Days 4 & 5 

Two bonafide contenders for the Best Actor Oscar screened on two consecutive days so I can't help but pair them here for you. We'll surely say more about these movies when they open, because they're both looking like awards heavyweights. But, for now, reviews and some Oscar betting. 

IMITATION GAME
In the opening voiceover, Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) admonishes someone (us?) to "pay attention. I won't repeat myself" but the story is exciting enough that you're sure to pay attention without the lecture. I mean, it's not every day you get to see a movie about a closeted homosexual genius mathematician secret war hero. Imitation Game has three acts but they play concurrently so we're weaving through Alan's adolescence in boarding school, Alan's top-secret war assignment, and Alan in the 1950s under police investigation. Naturally these three acts are related, not just by having the same protagonist, but by the theme of secrecy. How it informs, shapes, and obscures or destroys the things that matter like character, consequence, and emotional health.

The middle story is the most thrilling as Alan races against the clock to break the Enigma Code during WW II. I think the charge from this section of the film comes from the editing, directing, and its beautifully judged ensemble performance. Turing's obsessive intellectual personality is thrown into vivid relief but also sours when its forced into interaction with others, sliding towards closed off, curt and superior. And Benedict maps all this out with great delicacy...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Sep052014

170 Days until Oscars: Brody & Dreyfuss

170 is the amount of days by which Adrien Brody (The Pianist) narrowly defeated Richard Dreyfuss (The Goodbye Girl) to become the Youngest Best Actor winner ever. Do you think both of them deserved their wins?

Adrien Brody (29) and Richard Dreyfus (30) are the 2 youngest Lead Actor winners

1977 Best Actor 2002 Best Actor
Woody Allen, Annie Hall Adrien Brody, The Pianist
Richard Burton, Equus Nicolas Cage, Adaptation
Richard Dreyfus, The Goodbye Girl Michael Caine, The Quiet American
Marcelo Mastroianni, A Special Day Daniel Day Lewis, Gangs of New York
John Travolta, Saturday Night Fever Jack Nicholson, About Schmidt

 

The most hilarious thing about this statistic is that Adrien Brody is both the youngest Best Actor winner at 29 AND the only twentysomething winner. Meanwhile "29" is actually the most common age to win Best Actress. These eight women all accomplished it and none of them were anywhere close to making a "youngest" list. 

Ginger Rogers, Kitty Foyle (1940)
Ingrid Bergman, Gaslight (1944) 
Judy Holliday, Born Yesterday (1950)
Elizabeth Taylor, BUtterfield 8 (1960)
Julie Andrew, Mary Poppins (1964)
Jodie Foster, Silence of the Lambs (1991) 
Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line (2005)
Natalie Portman, Black Swan (2010) 

A record book ode to double standards! This can't possibly bode well for Jack O'Connell (Unbroken) who just turned 24 last month... but what an impressive season he's likely to have anyway with two acclaimed leading man performances already jostling about for attention (Starred Up, '71) and one more as Christmas present (Unbroken).

current best actor chart  (i'll update all the charts once I'm back from Toronto on the 14th)